This post is part one of a two part series. It provides a look into the healthy and sustainable menu options, and the equipment solutions that can be utilized in your corporate dining location -- or any commercial kitchen. Part two shares a variety of implemented foodservice project solutions that have helped activate spaces in corporate offices.
It’s been nearly three years since the world shut down due to the pandemic and, as New York Times author Kim Severson explained, the American office is just waking up from its slumber. This article (sorry you may need a NYT log in), discusses how the corporate cafeteria is changing from shifts towards healthier and more sustainable menu options to the dining environments and office amenities.
We broke down our response into two posts because there’s a lot to cover and our team had different takeaways from the article. Most importantly, for the team at elite|studio e, we want to elaborate on the variety of solutions that are available to fix the “broken cafeteria.” And, even better, there’s more to come from our innovative team that’ll help achieve the same goals.
In recent years, there has been a shift in the corporate dining industry towards healthier and more sustainable options. Companies are now looking for ways to promote wellness and sustainability in the workplace by offering nutritious and environmentally friendly meal options.
While my expertise is certainly more in line with the design and build of foodservice spaces, I think its important for you to know that we have a pulse on all things food related. So, here are some of the latest trends in corporate dining from what’s on your plate to where you sit.
Plant-based and vegetarian options: There has been a growing demand for plant-based and vegetarian options in the workplace, as more people are adopting a meat-free lifestyle for health, environmental, and ethical reasons. Many companies are embracing programs like John Hopkin's University Meatless Monday.
Sustainable packaging: Companies are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact and are turning to biodegradable and compostable packaging options.
Flexible meal options: With remote work becoming more common, companies are offering flexible meal options that can be ordered and delivered to employees' homes.
Health and wellness programs: Many companies are offering health and wellness programs, including healthy meal options, to promote employee wellness and reduce healthcare costs.
Technology-driven solutions: Technology is playing a larger role in corporate dining, with companies using online ordering systems, mobile apps, and smart kitchens to improve the dining experience.
Focus on local and seasonal ingredients: Companies are increasingly sourcing their ingredients from local and sustainable sources to reduce their carbon footprint and promote sustainability.
Designing for wellness: Certifications like FitWel and Well Building have put a focus on taking care of people. From embracing the feeling of home to biophilia design these organizations are transforming buildings into environments that are more inclusive, accessible, and vibrant places where people can thrive. (View our NeoCon post for more information on these design trends.)
These trends reflect the growing importance of health and sustainability in the workplace and show that companies are taking a more proactive approach to corporate dining.
In addition, there have been many recent advancements in foodservice equipment that are aimed at improving the efficiency and experience of preparing and serving food. Here is some of the latest and most innovative foodservice equipment:
Smart kitchen technology: This includes equipment that utilizes artificial intelligence, data analysis, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to streamline food preparation and cooking processes, minimize waste, and enhance the customer experience.
Multifunctional cooking equipment: This includes equipment that can perform multiple functions, such as grilling, baking, and steaming, in a single unit, saving space and streamlining the cooking process.
Sous vide machines: These machines allow for precise temperature control and cooking, resulting in perfectly cooked and tender meats, vegetables, and other ingredients.
High-speed ovens: These ovens cook food quickly and evenly, making them ideal for busy foodservice environments.
Automated kitchen equipment: This includes equipment that performs tasks such as chopping, mixing, and dispensing automatically, reducing the need for manual labor and increasing efficiency.
Energy-efficient equipment: This includes equipment designed to conserve energy and reduce costs, such as induction cooking surfaces, energy-saving fryers, and efficient refrigeration systems.
These products are helping transform the way food is prepared and served, and are becoming increasingly popular in commercial kitchens, restaurants, and other foodservice environments.
In part two, you’ll read more about how these trends play a role in some of our design solutions for the corporate café.